Kumeu River: New Zealand's Superstar
New Zealand's Premier Producer of Chardonnay
Kumeu River is my favourite producer of Chardonnay from New Zealand, and quite possibly, I would even go as far to say, in the Southern Hemisphere. The winemaker Michael Brajkovich was New Zealand’s first Master of Wine, and one of the country’s leading viticulturists.
Kumeu River is located very close to Auckland and makes Chardonnay their speciality. These wines pay homage to Burgundy and it is fair to say that they are almost indistinguishable from their French counterparts, except for their own unique freshness and brightness.
The range starts with the Kumeu Village Chardonnay which is made with a small portion of fruit grown in their vineyards a little further south in Hawkes Bay. Their flagship wine, however, is their Estate Chardonnay: a thoroughly complex wine which is a facsimile of Puligny Montrachet. There are a number of single vineyard wines produced here, my favourite being Hunting Hill which just simply put, has the nervosity and class of a Grand Cru.
The great thing about Kumeu River's Chardonnay is that they can be enjoyed young, but Michael reckons that the wines are at their peak at around 9 years.
Richard Ballantyne MW